THE BLOG
10/12/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Arthur Jibilian, Last Surviving Member of WWII Halyard Rescue Mission, is Dying

World War II Navy vet Arthur Jibilian, whom I have profiled somewhat and who spent the greater part of his life trying to clear the good name of Draza Mihailovic and extract gratitude rather than war-making from our nation for the Serbian nation is dying of Leukemia. His doctor has given him a maximum of six months, which he will be spending with his family, seemingly confident that his beloved America will one day get back on the right foot with the nation it has so wronged, Serbia. Below are his two most recent letters to me:

Dear Julia,

If you do not know, there is no easy way to tell you, so here it is: I have been diagnosed with acute leukemia. The doctor has given me a maximum of 6 months. That is why you have not heard from me.

You have done an awesome job presenting my, and the 513 rescued airmen's, feelings about Mihailovich and the Serbs. We owe them! Now, we have it in black and white (THE FORGOTTEN 500); we have it on video, we have it in papers throughout this great land of ours; we have made people aware.

I am certain that a movie will come out shortly -- it is just too good a story to remain hidden. Rumor has it that there is already one in process.

For all that you have done for the Serbs, and for me, I thank you.

Take care and God bless,

Arthur "Jibby" Jibilian
Halyard Mission

Thank you for your very nice letter, Julia. I have no problem with sharing my illness with anyone....no one gets out of this world alive. I have been blessed as I am in my beloved country, with friends and family who are taking loving care of me.

Acute leukemia (mine) is a disease where I have no platelets, and red and white blood cells are extremely low and the body can not reproduce them as it normally does. As a result, the patient becomes weaker and weaker, bones get frailer and frailer, joints hurt, appetite fails etc.

I won't inflict the details of what I went through, but we have decided that I have lived 85 wonderful years and are not going to subject my body to chemo, radiation and other "heroic measures" just to live a few extra weeks, months, or years. Hospice and my family will make me comfortable and as pain-free as possible for whatever time I have left.

As of the moment, I am relatively pain-free and hope to remain so with the medication provided. I will keep you updated on my condition and, if I am unable, will instruct my daughter, Debi, to do so...I treasure our relationship and if you have any questions, please let me know.

Big hug,

Arthur